This question stems from experiences from other MUCKS. I have witnessed many of time where a character does something that may alter the events of a running TP; and in because of this the event is ignored and erased from the time line and the current TP runs it's course as planned. This usually results in good RPers from participating because they stood up and got the wind knocked out of their sales.
So what is everyone's thoughts on this? Should a player play within the boundaries of the running TP? Or do they have the freedom to do what their character would do?
First of all, a good TP is a well-planned TP. If it's so poorly designed that another player can accidentally do something that would ruin everything then it probably shouldn't have been started in the first place. A good TP assumes that players who don't know the full intended plotline will act and react in not fully predictable ways and takes that into account - usually by either making sure that there are things in place that will prevent them from changing the chain of events or by being flexible enough about how the ending of the TP is achieved that it can adapt based on what the players do. A good TP is also designed in such a way that even the characters with players who know the plotline are not expected to do anything that their player decides would not fit within their character's personality and background; I have the greatest respect for players who hate doing otherwise - I'm one of them!
My second thought is that it's very important when designing a TP to recognize who needs to know what beforehand. A certain balance needs to be struck between not telling anyone anything and risk having them unintentionally disrupt the intended flow of events all the time, and telling everyone everything and losing the fun of having surprise plot twists and such. Generally what I do is identify exactly who might be able to "ruin" the TP on accident, and try to give them at least some idea of what I'd like for them to do or not to do and sometimes to ask what their character would do in a given situation. An example from the current TP that I can share is that I told Bhaskar that any IC interaction between him and Dushta would be dicey and we'd want to carefully plan any such scene out beforehand - which may seem rather obvious, but I've seen people just try to "wing it" with a scene like that with very messy results.
And my third thought is that sometimes there are hidden flaws in even the best laid plans, so communication is important. Even though I try to make it so that the players who know nothing of the full plotline can't ruin it, sometimes things happen. The real difference between a well-planned TP and a poorly-planned TP is that it doesn't happen very often in the former. Therefore, while I'd like to give everyone plenty of confidence that it would be very difficult to disrupt the TP, I'd also like to encourage anyone who is concerned that they might to feel free to ask me about it. Communication is always very important between players, whether you're involved in a TP or not.
And as a matter of note, the current TP that we're running is the excessively flexible type - I designed it before the MUCK opened, so aside from myself I had no idea who the key players or characters would be or exactly how things would happen. So I came up with a plotline where the beginning will almost inevitably result in the ending regardless of anything else. In fact, most of the tweaking I've done is to simply make things happen in a way that I happen to like better or to refine the very minute details - not because we're actually veering away from the plotline.
So my short answer to your question is that I believe that in a well-designed TP whatever the character would do should be within the boundaries of the TP and not the other way around.
Last Edit: Nov 10, 2010 3:44:19 GMT -7 by Avalikia
Avalikia - Aerial Eagle Bhiita - Fearful Fawn Dushta - Malevolent Menace Mukula - Little Lioness Saarameya - Decisive Dog